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Weekend Wind-down February 15, 2013

Filed under: Weekend Wind-downs — lovebakecreate @ 5:25 AM

Fridays bring with them a need to slow down, catch your breath and ease into the weekend. What better way to do that than to take a peak at what some other bakers are doing. This week, enjoy a cute birthday cake from Irena&Dots. Gotta love the owls! Enjoy!

IRENA & dots

Well that one was for my dad’s birthday. It was a team work: my mum prepared that tasty cake: well moistened chocolate sponge, lots of berries and peaches plus whipped cream – a win-win combination that always satisfies anyone in my family 🙂 Wooden cake stand was my dad’s work. Mine was only ‘decoration‘ this time 🙂

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He is maybe too old for that kind of cake bud was look like he loved it! Photos were taken with old Pentax K10, 15-55mm this time 🙂

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I just love that last photo! Doesn’t need any additional description. In my family everything happens in the kitchen ever since: planning, debates, celebrations… maybe that’s why?

Enjoy!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! February 14, 2013

Filed under: Baking fails,Holiday Cakes — lovebakecreate @ 11:04 AM
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Not just for love, chocolates and all the commercial stuff, but Valentine’s Day is also my Grandma’s day! In Poland you get to celebrate not only your birthday, but your saint’s Name Day. Seeing as my Grandma’s name is Valentine …

So I had a beautiful idea; bake a red cake, cut little heart shapes out of it and then bake another white cake around it. When you sliced into the cake, you’d get little surprise hearts. Delightful, heart warming and not too difficult. Not quite how it went down though.

First, I made a simple cake batter and dyed it red with food colouring. I poured it into some mini silicon loaf pans (which I’d never used). After about seven minutes in the oven, the train started coming undone. See for yourself. It was such a disaster that I had to introduce it to YouTube.

The end result.

The end result.

To sum it up, the outer part of the cake was baked long before the middle, to the point that a little volcano formed, spurting raw batter out the top, forming that lovely looking protrusion on the cakes.

Hoping that not all was lost, I carried on with my plan and cut the volcano cake into hearts.

I cut the loaf into slices...

I cut the loaf into slices…

... then cut hearts out of the slices.

… then cut hearts out of the slices.

February 14, 2013 045

Once all the heart slices were cut and arranged, the plan was to fill the pan with white cake batter and bake. “Here, use this,” smiles my mother as she hands me a box of cake mix. Sure, it’s easy and quick, what could go wrong? Well, when you’re not sure if the box of cake mix is still good to use, it can go horribly wrong. The first issue was that the white cake mix didn’t quite cover the hearts.

The red bits are candy that was in the cake mix.

The red bits are candy that was in the cake mix.

Notice the bottoms of the hearts poking up through the mix. I figured the cake has to rise, right? The bottoms will get encased in cake, right? Wrong.

February 14, 2013 050Those burnt little peaks in the middle? Yup, those would be the bottoms of the hearts.

I should mention, the same volcano effect was seen with this cake, so I have to question several things:

  • Was the box mix out of date?
  • Did I use the correct temperature?
  • Does the oven have hot spots?
  • Did I use to much baking soda with the first cakes?

Regardless, I kept going (brave or stupid, I’m not sure which) and turned the cake upside down to take it out of the pan.

February 14, 2013 051 *Insert explitive*

It was right about now that I realized I had neither greased nor floured the pan. Makes sense that a chunk of cake welded itself onto the bottom.

My ever helpful mom scraped it off the bottom with a spatula, held it up so we could assess the damage (and take a picture) and then we promptly fixed it.

 

 

 

February 14, 2013 053Tada! Perfect!

Frustrated by the numerous issues, I decided to wait to ice the cake.

Curiousity got the better of us and we wanted to see how the secret hearts turned out, so we decided to cut into the middle. You could always ice over it, no one would be the wiser. So we cut into the cake to find …

 

February 14, 2013 054

Hearts surrounded by raw cake.

*Insert swearing and table flip*

That was last night. This morning I toyed with the idea of getting up early, doing it all over again, maybe getting the result I wanted ….

And then got lazy decided to boost my confidence and make scones instead. With a Valentine’s twist ofcourse.

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Who better to share all this with than a happy family?

Seems Eric was camera shy this morning

Seems Eric was camera shy this morning

Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

ENJOY!

 

 

The Cake that Wasn’t February 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebakecreate @ 9:16 PM
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I had this great idea for our anniversary (two years! yay!). Keeping with this animal theme I seem to have started, I wanted to make and decorate an owl themed cake. I even had fantastic Pin-spiration. Ta-da.

Image

I would love to have created this cutie, but it is not mine. There are some very talented people that made this, as well as the cakes below. I would love to give them credit, but there wasn’t much explanation as to where the credit was due.

Image

Alas, this didn’t happen.

Our anniversary was on Sunday, so I thought I’d work on the cake on Saturday and Sunday while Eric was at work. Well, seems life had other plans for me. Saturday’s “quick trip to buy skates” ended up being a whirl wind adventure through Sport Chek, Walmart, the mall (where a certain mom of mine was distracted by “leather” bags and sparkly sale items), a shoe store, two clothing stores and finally Starbucks (I earned my latte, dammit).

Just as we’re heading home, who should send me a text but my loving, sweet husband;

“Got off early. Be back in half an hour.”

Nuts.

That’s ok. Sunday. I got Sunday. You took the late shift? Oh right. Sunday night. Wait. Crap, I made plans I can’t break. Ok. Now what?

Screw the surprise, I can make the cake on Monday. We’re home together all day, I’ll make it then.

“You know hun, I don’t really need a cake. I’d rather just spend the day with my girls.”

And thus, it became the cake that wasn’t. It might become a cake later, but for now I’m going to take this lesson and enjoy it. What lesson? Oh the one Eric accidentally taught me; that I don’t have to make him a cake or make a big fuss to show him how much I care. That taking the day to simply spend time together is worth more than all the fondant and icing in the world. Thanks sweetheart!

However, there was other baking. Lazier baking. It took place in the form of a Phillips bread maker. I give you, the culprit

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and the resulting product.

February 6, 2013 047

Cinnamon Raisin bread, purely because my taste buds demanded something sweet and I couldn’t find any more Christmas chocolate around the house.

On a related note, I have started an exciting new project! My grand-dad had an old cook book he would scribble all his recipes in and my mom has a similar book she started about 30 years ago when she moved to Canada. Due to a wave of panic from my mom, thinking these books will disappear or be horribly mangled, I’ve started to transfer them to the computer and in the process translate them (from Polish).

I know I’ll be trying a few cakes for sure and show casing them here but otherwise I’m still toying with the idea of what to do with all these recipes. If anyone has suggestions, fire away, I’d love to hear them.

So in the spirit of lazy bread and unborn cakes, take time to revel in the things that are important rather than just the things that are urgent and

ENJOY!

 

Pop some bubbly January 30, 2013

Filed under: Birthday celebrations — lovebakecreate @ 10:04 AM
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First, I want to send my appreciation and a huge thank you to everyone that viewed and liked my post last week. I was absolutely floored by the response that little squirrel got!

This week my best buddy Krysti-Anna had the joy of turning 28 and on the 28th. Meaning? Champagne birthday! There was really only one way to celebrate; cake.

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A lot of learning came with this cake. Such as the importance of making the bottle proportionate to the ice bucket. And taking more time to cut out numbers to make sure they’re both straight, and that I’ve cut off the blue I’ve used to outline the numbers.

There were a few really cool techniques I played with that turned out quite well, like the ice cubes. 100% sugar! They were made by boiling white sugar and white corn syrup and heating it to 260°F (hard candy stage) then pouring them into greased ice cube trays. I made two batches, the first one being the blue. I wasn’t sure how much food colouring to use and it seems I may have over compensated. The second batch wasn’t coloured and the sugar turned out a little yellow (naturally happens). Enter my dad and his brilliant idea; put all the “ice cubes” together in a metal pot and shake to break them up a bit. It roughed up the ice and made it more natural looking, plus left me with loads of “shaved ice”. Love it!

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The bottle was made out of rice krispies and to cover that and the bucket, I tried a new kind of fondant. Made of marshmallow. That’s right. Those delightful fluffy balls of sugar that go over the camp fire. Super easy too! All I did was melt marshmallow in a pot, then take them off the heat and add equal parts of icing sugar. It can be rather frustrating when mixing since you just keep adding more and more icing sugar. Also, you will need to use your hands at one point. Take my advice; cover your hands in either shortening or (what I used for a bit of flavour) coconut oil. When I say cover, I mean COVER! Keep adding more icing sugar. Eventually it will look and feel like play dough.

One downside is that marshmallow fondant doesn’t have the same non-tacky quality as regular fondant which means you need to use a lot more icing sugar when rolling it out, otherwise it will stick to EVERYTHING!

I did play with a few of the final details by making a “custom” label and squishing the “seal” with the top of a wine bottle and adding the initials K.A. (for Krysti-Anna).

January 29, 2013 132

January 29, 2013 135

I have to admit, the foil top is not edible. Sad, I know, but I didn’t get a chance to track down gold dust, so gold foil had to do a stand in.

The best part was the delight on Krysti-Anna’s face when she saw the cake and the then said she didn’t want to eat it … it was too pretty.

That’s the beauty of making things that are edible; it forces you to live in the moment and enjoy things while they’re there. Everything, no matter what, has an expiration date. So while it’s around make sure to love it, drink it in, live in the moment and above all …

ENJOY!

 

Love is in the air January 23, 2013

I know it’s always said that Christmas decorations come out earlier and earlier every year, but I’m pretty sure the same can be said about Valentine’s Day. Maybe I was just naive as a child and didn’t notice, but this year while scouring the aisles for tea, I came face to face with shelves packed with pink and red t …  a month ago. I understand trying to get a head start on things, but seriously, the woman ahead of me at the checkout was still buying for New Years!

So even though the Valentine’s Day goodies have been on the shelves for a month already, I’ve managed to put off any planning until as late as possible (surprise). On top of that, I’m faced with an exciting opportunity this year; not only do I get to bake for Valentine’s Day, which is only a week after my anniversary (which will include baking) but this year I get to be in the same city as my best buddy Krysti-Anna, whose birthday is this coming Monday(and will include cake, naturally).

All that said, I have (brace yourselves) a plan.

Take a moment, please. I needed one. Hell, my head is still swooning a bit from the shock.

So with all this … planning… going on, I’ve decided that today I’m going to look back at last year’s anniversary/Valentine’s cake. Yes, there was only one, because we had just moved to Squamish and I was in no mood to make two cakes. Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it this year.

Without further ado, last year’s cake.

phone pictures 948

Don’t be fooled by the picture, he was small in stature; about the height of a pop can.

phone pictures 947

phone pictures 946

Also, please feel free to ignore the screwdriver, hydro bill, bolts and random bits of paper on the counter. I was still finding places for everything after moving in and the day I made this, I wanted to get it done while Eric was at work (it was his surprise cake).

The squirrel was made of pound cake that was poured into a bear mold. After baking, his feet and ears were chopped to go from bear to squirrel. The tail and heart were made of sugar cookies. Naturally I made about ten of each. In case of breakage.

The rest was  royal icing made from icing sugar and varying amounts of milk to get the consistency I was after. Everything that has a smooth finish like the eyes, nose and icing on the heart was icing so thick I handled it like modelling clay.

All the fur was piped with a star tip, slightly smaller for the body and slightly larger for the tail fur. The icing was quite thick since I didn’t want it to droop, resulting in several breaks; my forearms cramped up and my whole arm started shaking at several points. Much respect to those who do this for a living.

So how did Eric feel about the squirrel?

Well….

phone pictures 952

phone pictures 953

After he chomped off each ear, the cookie (sadly) fell on the floor, so our deaf squirrel was left to announce the he was “Nu_s About You”. There was only one thing left to do.

phone pictures 954

Much like our squirrelly friend, this season of love is brief, so …

ENJOY!!!

 

Sweet Sunday Afternoons January 16, 2013

Filed under: Cookies — lovebakecreate @ 9:01 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

madelines

First a confession about the picture above; not mine. This is the lovely picture of what Madelines should look like, care of www.allrecipes.com. My first attempt at these delightful little biscuits looked more like this.

January 16, 2013 035

Yes, they’re slightly burned. Crispy, if you will. This was a very good lesson of not every oven is the same. Seems that my mom’s oven is a super oven that bakes things in record time.

Theses crispy little cakes were part of the prep for a Sunday tea visit. Something about Sunday, tea and biscuits on a frosty winter morning that makes the whole day relaxed. Even after burning them, my relaxed self found a very appropriate solution. Icing sugar.

January 16, 2013 036

There we go, no one will be the wiser. Also, they’re not shaped like the traditional Madelines, but acorns. So really, we can say they’re snow covered acorns.

The recipe itself is quite simple.

Ingredients

2 eggs

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp lemon zest

1/4 cup salted butter or margarine

First, set the oven to 375°F and melt the butter. I went for the fast option and used the microwave, but be careful not to boil it. The butter can be left off to the side to cool down to room temperature or put outside. Again, be careful if you’re doing this in Winnipeg. I had to warm the butter up to room temperature after leaving it in the garage for too long.

Beat the eggs and vanilla at high speed until they look fluffy and have little air bubbles in the mix. Then, still at high speed, add the sugar slowly and beat it for about five minutes or the mixture looks soft and pours like you see in the picture.

It should “pour like a ribbon” according to the original recipe.

January 16, 2013 018

Next, sift the flour and fold it into the egg mixture, one third at a time.

January 16, 2013 016

January 16, 2013 020

Finally, add the lemon zest and fold in the melted butter. I have to admit, in all the baking I’ve done, this is the first time I’ve zest-ed. My mom happily demonstrated her zest-ing tool.

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Pour into molds and bake for about 14 minutes, or 12 minutes in the case of the super oven. Don’t get distracted by a cute face while timing your baking.

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Come to think of it, the super oven might not have been solely to blame for my crispy Madelines.

Cheers to lazy Sundays and tasty cakes … even the crispy ones.

Happy baking!

 

There was a December? January 9, 2013

Filed under: Holiday Cakes — lovebakecreate @ 8:01 PM
Since we were heading to Winter-peg for the holidays, we had to be prepared

Since we were heading to Winter-peg for the holidays, we had to be prepared

Apparently it was here. We might have missed it though. On to New Years I suppose …

It has been a crazy month and a half with carting our family to Winnipeg, Eric getting work for the moment and Ella growing like a weed. I have been baking although sadly none of it has made it here. Hence my New Year’s Resolution (yes, it requires a capital ‘R’). *take a moment to clear throat*

I will strive to post an entry every Wednesday, even if it is simply an update on what we’ve been up to in the past week. This post will not have to be long, but it will require a minimum of one picture and a few words of hello.

And now I can put my blogging hat on and start this very first 2013 post off with an assortment of pictures. Here’s what’s been going on in December.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Ella was safely entertained while the Christmas tree was being set up. This is one of those A+ parenting moments, I’m sure.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

There was baking, quite a bit of it actually. I will be adding links to the recipes over the next week.

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Thank you Granny Geraldine for our lovely Christmas Pudding outfit. Sadly, due to our ever enlarging  child this outfit was worn once.

On a happy note though, we received news that friends of ours will be welcoming their first little one this June. Congrats Paul and Eliza! Next Christmas they’ll have their very own little Christmas Pudding!

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Christmas does sometimes cause so much excitement, you have no choice but to have a nap.

Moms camera until January 9, 2013 419

Buddies for always.

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And then there’s the aftermath.

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December also brought us into the exciting world of food. Grand-dad continues to be proud of his little peanut.

Moms camera until January 9, 2013 450 Moms camera until January 9, 2013 451

Moms camera until January 9, 2013 452

What better way to end than with a happy fed child. I’ll admit, there was little in the way of baking here, but I’ll make up for it … before next Wednesday.